East Asian-themed music in MMOs is something that I generally welcome. Even if the title isn't an Asian MMO, chances are that sooner or later developers like to work an Eastern zone, class, or city into the game -- and with that comes a specific sound. I'm by no means educated on what instruments are used in these tunes, but the result is so distinctive that you can't help but think of the region.
Guild Wars: Factions
definitely drew upon the Orient for its theme, and composer Jeremy Soule
returned to create a score that would paint a picture of Cantha. Unfortunately, I don't think he was up to the task. While technically sufficient, Factions'
score is definitely lacking in the grandeur of Prophecies
and the basic catchiness necessary to elevate a soundtrack out of the crowd. The best I can say is that none of the tracks is horrible to hear, but the album as a whole is actually a bit bland and forgettable.
I'm by no means besmirching Soule here. His previous and subsequent Guild Wars
projects are heads and shoulders above this one, and everyone has an off day. Perhaps Asian music just wasn't his forte. In any case, I sifted vigorously to discover six tracks that best represent Cantha and its people.